Australia is to delay by a year a scheme to cut carbon emissions in order to help industry through the economic downturn.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had faced pressure from industry leaders, who wanted the scheme scrapped, and also from environmentalist groups who wanted stricter rules. Rudd defended the decision, claiming tougher eventual targets could make up for the delayed start. “What you have effectively is a slower start to the carbon pollution reduction scheme and the prospect of a stronger, greener conclusion. And the reason for that is to do what we can flexibly and intelligently to help business at a time of duress while having a more ambitious target in terms of bringing down greenhouse gas emissions later on to underpin the dynamic of getting a really positive outcome in Copenhagen.” If other countries agree to emissions cuts at December’s UN climate summit in Copenhagen, Rudd says the Australian target could be raised to a 25 percent emissions reduction by 2020. The existing proposals, which analysts say would have struggled to be approved by the senate, put the reductions target at between five and 15 percent.